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Duke Outslugs Cal, 77-63
The Nutshell
Duke Outslugs Cal, 77-63
Photo Gallery
Duke Outslugs Cal, 77-63
By Rob Clough
December 2, 2012


Analysis and Stats

Why Duke Won: The Devils got balanced scoring and dominant rebounding from its backcourt. Once Duke got over the initial shock of Cal's physical play, Duke got comfortable and dealt out some punishment of its own. The Devils made tough plays and weren't afraid to give up their bodies at either end. While they made some mistakes, they did what needed to be done once they went on their run and protected their lead. Why Cal Lost: The Bears scored just 2 points in a nine-minute first half stretch and let Duke get into a rhythm. When the Bears did one thing well, Duke countered by dominating something else. In the first half, Cal rebounded well but turned the ball over too much. In the second half, Cal generated a lot of turnovers but didn't get a lot of second-chance points.

The Game Turned When...: The Devils made their first half run and Tricia Liston scored 10 straight points. Cal tried mightily but could never quite get over the hump.

X-Factor: Allison Vernerey. With Liz Williams leaving the game and Cal sporting a 3 point lead, things looked good for the Bears. Instead, Vernerey came in, set up on the left block where she's comfortable, and nailed a hook shot. Then she drove from right to the left and hit another shot.

Areas For Improvement: Duke got lazy inbounding some passes, something that will need to be tightened up against teams that defensive ballhawks. The Devils did not box out hard early in the first half and were made to pay. Duke didn't close out on a few Cal shots and also got burned. All of these are not new issues, but I think seeing them on film the way that Cal exploited them will make it easier for the players to digest it.

Ramifications: This was Duke's first test against a ranked opponent and they more than passed it. Sure, it was a home game, but Duke is slowly putting its team together bit by bit as more players start to get healthy. The Devils have two more tough games in a row before things ease off a bit for the holidays, at which point Duke should hopefully have everyone back and playing with the exception of Amber Henson.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams


Liz started off the game with a strong drive and a couple of strong blocks, but soon went out of the game with two fouls. In the second half, she scored early in transition but was grabbing rebounds, getting fouled and blocking shots. When Cal cut the score to 58-47, Liz posted up hard and eventually scored on a tough one-on-one move. That was an expression of dominance, because Cal had to come over and start doubling again. Down the stretch, Liz got fouled and started converting at the stripe and sank a 10' jumper with under a minute left. This was not her most efficient game, but she certainly made an impact. How Liz adjusts against physical and big opponents is something worth watching the rest of the year, as she learns to become more efficient.

Haley Peters


Haley had a relatively quiet game as she had to deal with foul trouble. Other than a single jump shot early on, she didn't make much of an impact in the first half. In the second half, Peters drained an early trey and finished a couple of passes from Gray. She also worked hard on the boards, grabbing 3 o-boards in the second half. That trey wound up being a big momentum-changer, blunting a potential Cal comeback early in the second half.

Tricia Liston


Tricia was knocked back early in the game by Cal's physical play, missing a couple of shots wildly as she was put off-balance. After she ran behind a screen and pulled up for a 15' jumper, she seemed to get plugged back into the flow of the game. She fed Vernerey for a score, and then with eight minutes to go, started her own personal 10-0 run. that included a drive, a pair of treys, and a post-up move that resulted in a hook shot. She finished the half with a dish to Moore for a 15' jumper. In the second half, she scored on a post-up and a drive. Gray found her in transition and later Jones fed her a difficult pass with an angle that gave Tricia just one chance to score. More importantly, she did hard work on the boards, getting 6 boards in the second half, including boards tipped out to her by Williams. After a couple of less productive games, it was great to see Liston get tough and dominate a high-level opponent.

Alexis Jones


When Gray was struggling a bit, Jones stepped up. She hit a tough 10' baseline jumper on Duke's second possession and then dished to Peters for a jumper. During Duke's big first half run, Jones scored on a drive and a runner, and then had a steal and layup that pushed Duke's lead to 22-13. In the second half, she had a dish to Vernerey for a score, a pass in transition to Gray and a high-risk/high-reward pass to Liston for a score. Her biggest play was a driving three point play that pushed Duke's lead to 17 after Cal had scored 5 straight. She dd have 5 turnovers against Cal's pressure but mostly did a good job in being aggressive against it.

Chelsea Gray


Chelsea took a lot of bad shots in the first half half, including some wild airballs where she was looking for a call to get bailed out. Her only first half field goal was a face-up jumper from 17' away. Otherwise, she had a pair of assists to Liston for three and grabbed 5 boards in the first half. In the second half, she scored on a tough post-up move, which seemed to calm her down a bit. From there, she took a charge (one of three she took in the second half), got to the foul line, and found Williams and Peters for scores. She hit both ends of a one-and-one with about five minutes to go and Duke up by 11, found Peters for another score and closed out Duke's scoring by draining 3 foul shots after getting hacked in the act. Chelsea has had higher impact games for Duke and more efficient games. but this was a gritty performance against a bunch of players that she knows quite well, and she nearly wound up with a triple double.

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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Allison Vernerey


Alli came in off the bench and immediately scored twice, which is precisely the kind of impact Duke needs to get from her in big games. Cal visibly relaxed when she came in, and she made them pay with a hook and a sweeping drive going from right to left. She scored on another hook in the second half and played great interior defense throughout the game, moving her feet from baseline to baseline and then collapsing in on the post and contesting shots. She wasn't credited with any blocks, but she definitely altered several looks at the basket. Alli did great work on the boards with 5 offensive rebounds, outworking Cal's stronger players more than once.

Ka'lia Johnson


Ka'lia gave the team a boost by scoring on a layup and grabbing a couple of rebounds. She subbed into the game whenever Duke needed energy on the defensive end.

Sierra Moore


Sierra gave the team a lift in the first half when Peters and Williams were on the bench with foul trouble. She missed some shots, but she nailed a big jumper late in the half that put Duke up by 16. Moore played harrassing, energetic defense as well.

Chloe Wells


Chloe made her season debut (and first minutes in the year 2012) to much applause in Cameron, and played with a lot of energy and no discernible lack of movement. She was rusty to be sure and had a turnover, but one could tell that she was energized just being out there. The team will need her experience and energy in the weeks ahead.

Duke Outslugs Cal, 77-63
The Nutshell
Duke Outslugs Cal, 77-63
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